Warts are probably the most loathed and unwanted common skin condition that people can catch.
They are small, benign lumps that can develop singly or in clusters and are renowned for being stubborn to get rid of.
People can try all sorts of remedies with varying results such as topical creams/lotions, freezing or home remedies such as rubbing onions on them. The most effective of all the wart removal treatment options is electrolysis, otherwise called Short Wave Diathermy.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF WARTS
Most warts are viral and these have some commonalities in appearance;
- they have a raised dome shape (except Verrucae)
- they appear on surface of the skin but often have roots spreading underneath.
Viral warts are most common on hands and fingers but can occur anywhere and feature round or mosaic black spots that indicates the blood supply.
They can disappear spontaneously but this may take many years of frustration and sometimes discomfort. Warts have a rough surface with a stuck on appearance and are usually singular but can appear in clusters. They do not merge into one another and they do not contain hairs. Viral warts can be further broken down into:
- Plantar Warts which are usually called Verrucas and appear on the feet. They can present anywhere on and around the foot including the base, the toes and even between the toes. Verrucae vary in size considerably with some presenting as small 1 or 2 mm while extreme cases they can cluster to half the foot. They can be itchy and irritating and are often very sore and painful. For some sufferers it can even prove difficult to walk.
- Filiform warts have finger like projections that stick up from the skin
- Common or raised warts are often seen on the hands
- Genital warts found in the genital region
These are the only non-viral warts. They are flat to the skin or slightly raised and uneven with a stuck-on appearance and distinctive edge. Most of the surface is present on the skin and they can have a central attachment.
They appear on sun damaged areas of those aged 40+ and vary from skin colour to one shade or two darker and even black. Seobrrhoeic warts do not resolve themselves over a long period of time and can appear in clusters that can merge into each other.
WHAT CAUSES WARTS?
Most warts (aside from the seborrheic variety) are caused by an infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus causes an excess amount of keratin, a hard protein (from which hair and nails are made of), to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis). The extra keratin produces the rough, hard texture of a wart.
Warts are contagious (apart from the seborrhoeic warts) and can be caught by close skin-to-skin contact. The infection can also be transmitted indirectly from contaminated objects or surfaces, such as the area surrounding a swimming pool. If the skin is wet or damaged infection is more likely to happen and following infection, it can take weeks or even months for a wart to appear.
Most types of warts are easy to identify because they have a very distinctive appearance. GP referral is recommended if a growth appears on the skin you are unable to identify or are worried about and medical intervention is most definitely recommended if it bleeds, changes in appearance, spreads and causes significant pain, distress or embarrassment.
ELECTROLYSIS FOR WART REMOVAL
The electrolysis technique used for wart removal depends upon the type of wart, but with a common wart or seborrheic wart, the tiny electrolysis needle simply cuts and cauterises the wart from the skin.
Following treatment the surface of the wart will scab over, which will, after a week or so, slough away leaving perfect skin behind. More than one wart treatment may be required with verrucas in particular being very resilient and definitely needing more than one treatment. All warts can be very effectively treated using an advanced electrolysis procedure (except for genital warts, as this is mucus membrane and therefore electrolysis is not suitable).